Letter: Franchise - A fateful political decision ...

A Northern Rail train

Howard West (Letters, August 31) said that the (Northern Rail) franchise had failed miserably in its role as a public service provider.

It had not provided additional capacity for the Great Yorkshire Show or for Test matches.

It is the Conservative government of the 1980s whom he should be blaming.

They, believing that there was no such thing as society, abolished the role of railways as public service providers and sold BR in fragments to entrepreneurs, whose remit is to make money for their shareholders.

We were told that the profit motive would ensure that the public was well served and that the definition of franchise arrangements would guarantee a minimum service level.

Northern Rail would be failing in their legal duty to their shareholders if they diverted profits to the leasing of additional trains or carriages and to the hiring of extra staff to provide a special service on just a few days of the year. Mr West complains that extra trains in the new timetables will not stop at some stations. But the provision of these trains will assist passengers at intermediate stations by channelling many longer distance passengers away from the stopping trains, leaving spaces on these for intermediate passengers.

Again, because of their duty to their shareholders, Northern Rail have to make the most of their assets, including parking spaces at Pannal.

Why should they provide free spaces when some might be occupied by rival bus pasengers prepared to walk up the hill?

If streets of Pannal are congested by parked cars, it is up to the Conservative local authority to introduce appropriate regulations.

Professor Tony Wren

Park Parade,

Harrogate

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